Friday, September 24, 2010

Hearty Harvest Beef Stew

Yesterday, as you are all aware, was the first day of Autumn! Fall is my favorite season; I am in awe each year looking at the colors of changing leaves, feeling the crisp hint of cool that enters the air, and of course the sight of pumpkins everywhere! In celebration of the season I decided to adapt (only in using the healthiest version of each ingredient) a WW Online recipe for Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Soup. This soup combines flavors I had never before seen in beef stew...cinnamon, honey, sweet potatoes and prunes! I unfortunately did not have any prunes and used golden raisins instead which not only added the texture of prunes, and a similar dried fruit essence, but came at a lower points cost. Cannot begin to tell you how great this thick, rich stew tastes...or how amazing your house will smell after having this savory concoction simmering away for 8 hours! Gotta try: Hearty Harvest Beef Stew

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shrimp Fried Rice with Edamame

Now that new year's feasting and Yom Kippur's fasting is over I will hopefully be making more new dishes for the fall season. The latest reason for no new posts...Repeat Cooking! There have been so many wonderful recipes that I've tried that it is really hard not to re-make things to savor again and any rate this dish is from a new cookbook that my mom sent me, "WW Annual Recipes for Success 2006." If I have never told you before W is a sucker for Chinese is my stepfather! This recipe will satisfy the Chinese food lover in your life, Shrimp Fried Rice with Edamame is a great and easy way to bring vegetables, protein and grain all together in a meal and have it actually taste good! The key ingredient in this dish is the sesame oil...for those thinking of skipping out, don't! The inclusion of sesame makes this rice meal resemble our greasy take-out favorites more than if you stick to just the rice. So for only 6pts per serving, gotta try: Shrimp Fried Rice with Edamame

Monday, September 13, 2010

Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

This tasty treat comes from a recipe found in the October issue of "Country Living" magazine...the recipe practically begged to be made as the only change necessary was the exchange of olive oil for cooking spray! The use of barley for risotto would ordinarily not cross my mind but after tasting its sweet and nutty flavor and learning that it packs almost twice the amount of protein found in regular rice I will be looking to use it in future risotto dishes as a replacement. The butternut squash gets its own baking treatment prior to joining the risotto and I have to say the pieces that had a bit of burn to them had the best flavor; I think if I make this again I will let the squash go under the boiler for a few minutes to crisp burn the majority of pieces. The dish itself is a combination of sweet squash, nutty barely, fresh thyme, lemon, garlic, parmesan cheese, wine, onions and of course a subtle broth of rich stock. Perfect dish to make on nights when you are in the mood for something light yet filling, at only 5pts per serving gotta try: Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hunter's Stew

The first time I had hunter's stew (bigos) was at a Polish festival...for those of you that have never heard of or had this delightful dish it is basically a very meaty/thick stew. The popularity of this stew lies in its utility in using up all the "odds and ends" remaining in one's cupboard as well as any mixed meats remaining from hunting parities. So of course wanting to please my Polish love I began to make bigos at home following traditional recipes and ingredients and achieved excellent results; however when made in this manner bigos is more like heart attack stew rather than a heart healthy selection. The challenge then became adapting a traditional recipe into something WW accomplish this task I merged two separate bigos recipes from, "The Art of Polish Cooking"  into one health conscious concoction. The end results were a very flavorful combination of vegetables, fruits and meat that not only resembled bigos but got a W stamp of approval! The mixed textures of apples, sauerkraut, onion, mushrooms and carrots alongside the smoked turkey sausage simmered together in a hearty wine and tomato broth made this dish a new household favorite at only 5pts per serving! If you have never had bigos, now's the time to try! Hunter's Stew

p.s. If you have the points serve this up with a hunk of fresh, crusty bread to soak up all the juices!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lubiya and Cinnamon-Apple Cake with Honey Glaze

L'Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year! Rosh Hashanah began last night as dusk settled and started off the High Holy Days for Jews around the celebrate I made a traditional black-eyed pea soup and a WW adaptation of a apple spice cake from the, "WW Healthy & Happy Celebrations" cookbook. The use of black-eyed peas as a celebratory new years feast dates back as far as ancient Egypt where the bean was served up in a turmeric colored broth to symbolize fertility...other cultures, including U.S. Southern culture, still use this legume as a hallmark of the season. The recipe I used makes a hearty soup called Lubiya; the richness of the beans along with the spice of hot chilies and the distinct flavor of fresh cilantro make this a warm and spicy soup to prepare us for the cool fall days ahead (assuming you don't live in Texas!) for a mere 3pts. And of course in keeping with the traditional idea of consuming apples and honey in anticipation of the sweetness of the year to come I made a Cinnamon-Apple Cake with Honey Glaze. The cake is a great way of upholding this tradition with nutmeg, cinnamon, fresh apples, cider and brown sugar to name a few. At only 4pts per serving this cake will add a great end to any fall menu. With the Gregorian New Year coming up and fall/winter holidays in abundance before hand now is as good as time as any to re-energize our efforts and continue our healthy living into the season ahead. Happy Cooking! Lubiya and Cinnamon-Apple Cake with Honey Glaze

Sweet and yummy goodness!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

This recipe was a suggestion by mom...she has been following another fellow WW lady that has been quite busy developing her own blog of recipes which sadly puts mine to laughable shame (I should mention however that she has been working on it for years, not months!) Anyhow, my mother made a recipe from her site last week and raved about the Italian/cheesy goodness of it all. Not being one to turn down a good recipe I decided to follow in her footsteps and make the same dish...the taste is wonderful! Every bite had a fresh from my Italian grandmother's garden type of feel...and the best part is that by sheer coincidence I followed the recipe using what I had in pantry and got the original recipe down from 6pts per serving to 3pts! I think the difference lies in using olive oil cooking spray rather than oil to coat eggplant, fat free mozzarella over reduced fat and egg substitute over real. The taste is amazing and so I think my accident is worthy of its own write up for those that want to recapture the 3pt model. The whole dish hangs on one thing however, the sauce! The sauce recipe she uses is from what she describes as her friend, a good Italian cook...I will describe her as genius! I never in a million years would have used carrots to make a tomato sauce but it added such a great flavor that I will be using this from now on. The sauce is an entirely different recipe and I will supply the link, note that it makes extra so despite the drudgery of making this from scratch version you will have multiple uses from your efforts. So there you have it...a dish so great that it comes taste test approved by three fellow WW ladies and very satisfied Wojtek! Happy Cooking: Eggplant Parmesan and the link for sauce: Filetto di Pomodoro

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomato Soup

While musing with my mom on things to cook for a fall palate we both concluded how wonderful it would be if the "secret" family recipe could be adapted into a healthier version of itself....alas we have the world's best Tomato Soup! This soup recipe has been in our family for generations and though simple in ingredients it is surely the best tomato soup I have ever enjoyed. The really funny part was just how easy it was/could have been to make a healthier variety all along...replace the full stick of butter with a few tablespoons of faux butter, olive oil with olive oil cooking spray to saute...fat free evaporated milk vs. whole, etc etc...So the real test comes from how the taste was affected by all these changes, so here it's BETTER! I could hardly believe the taste! Whereas before the rich creaminess had a decadency that left you feeling gluttonous after a few bites this version retained nothing but the taste of the fresh tomatoes, thyme and basil. Another example of how great this conversion worked, before when served in a bowl the soup left a ring of fats/oils/tomato around the there is no waste of soup just more goodness to enjoy! So there you have it, an awesome fall favorite that in my family has made a starring role in all holiday meals at a mere 3pts per 1-1/2 cup serving! To retain the "secrecy" I have left one ingredient out of the final recipe (rest assured that I tried, Wojtek tried before adding said secret ingredient and the soup is still divine!) I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has! Tomato Soup

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pad Thai with Tofu

I adore good Pad Thai...and since changing over into a healthier eating lifestyle I had neglected this treasured dish (amendment: I did try the Lean Cuisine version of Chicken Pad Thai and did NOT find it appealing at all, whatsoever!) imagine my delight at finding a recipe in the current issue of Weight Watcher's Magazine for "Peanut Noodles!" The recipe as listed in the magazine is served cold and is meant to be a lite summer dinner salad...wanting my Pad Thai goodness I followed the basic recipe listed but made a few changes, added lite tofu and voile a WW friendly serving of my favorite old friend at only 6pts per serving! So for those of you Asian food lovers out there you gotta try: Pad Thai with Tofu

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dilbert The Penguin

The past eight days have been hectic to say the least! Wojtek's mother willingly left the now crisp Canadian air to brave Houston for a week of celebratory birthday fun! That being said...despite all of the eating out trips I still managed to make "smart" choices for the most part and lost another 1.6lbs. I did cook for several of the nights but I relied on recipes I knew to be good and that I have already shared with you in the this post is the lone addition from the past few days of cooking. Let me begin by saying that this is NOT a WW recipe, rather it is a healthier adaptation of birthday goodness...I used healthy substitutes where possible and my only disappointment is that I could not find the Pillsbury Sugar Free cake mix and frosting at the time I prepared the cake. This creation, which I lovingly named Dilbert, is a fantastic treat to make for any upcoming birthday in your life...after seeing the joy on Wojtek's 25year old face I can only imagine how much a child would enjoy this surprise. The cake was a bit challenging to make since I have never done anything quite like this and I highly recommend having someone there to help you when the assembling of the body occurs...otherwise making Dilbert was purely fun and I highly suggest trying to make your own! Dilbert The Penguin